Super Bowl 2010

People's Choice: Clydesdales Return to Super Bowl

Premeditated Publicity Stunt or Not, Facebook Campaign Gooses Fan Count for Budweiser Icons

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Knock us over with a feather: The Budweiser Clydesdales will be in the Super Bowl after all.

Bud's 'Fences' spot won the Facebook fan vote by a large margin.
Bud's 'Fences' spot won the Facebook fan vote by a large margin.
That shocking turn of events is the result of a lopsided Facebook fan vote in which fans chose a Clydesdale spot over two other Bud ads -- the horses nabbed 70% of the vote.

The spot, from DDB, Chicago, will air during the fourth quarter of the game.

The Scottish steeds made headlines last week when they were absent from a preliminary lineup of Super Bowl spots released by A-B. It would have been the first time since 2001 that the Clydesdales weren't in at least one Super Bowl ad and only the third time in 15 years.

But, shortly after that media preview, Keith Levy, the brewer's vice president of marketing, said that he received a last-second edit of a rejected 60-second Clydesdale spot that convinced him to put the horses' fate in consumers' hands. A-B posted the spot, along with two others, on its Facebook page for a vote last Friday.

Double coverage
Ad Age remarked to Mr. Levy that this seemed like an awfully convenient way to double coverage of the brewer's Super Bowl buy -- and casting its mascots as returning heroes in the process -- but Mr. Levy denied that was the plan all along, saying "I wish I was that smart."

Regardless of whether the maneuver was premeditated, it seems to have worked out well: 100,000 people registered as fans of Budweiser in order to vote in the poll.

"This year we found ourselves with a chance to get people involved in the final ad selection process for Super Bowl, and that was an opportunity too good to pass up," Mr. Levy said in a statement. "The response to consumer voting on Budweiser's Facebook fan page was incredible."

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